If you recall Seattle University's big run against Oregon State last week, there was a sort of standout star player that made some big emotional plays but a number of other players who did the little things along the way to lead the team to victory.
After their 75-70 win against Navy in the 2K Classic sub-regional last night, it's fair to say that we're beginning to see a pattern: this is not a team that has a Kemba Walker-like talent who can single-handedly will the team to victory. They need a well-rounded effort.
And so despite the fact that wing Aaron Broussard set a new career-high with 26 points a day after setting the bar at 25 points against UC Irvine, the bigger story in the Redhawks' development moving forward is that they got much improved play from across the roster.
Seattle U Men’s Basketball Holds On For 75-70 Victory - Seattle University Redhawks Athletics
"This was a gut-check game for our guys today, especially playing their fourth game in five days," head coach Cameron Dollar said. "I am proud of the way they stuck together and continued playing with intensity throughout the game. We will build on this and continue to improve as we move along in the season."
Burrell played a solid game throughout, finishing with 19 points, two assists, and three steals, while McLaughlin notched his first career double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds, plus he dished out a team-high four assists. Both Garrett Lever (Phoenix, Ariz.) and Brandon Durham (Bremerton, Wash.) helped the Redhawks enjoy a significant rebounding edge with seven boards apiece.
In fact, it may have been the play of redshirt freshman transfer Mark McLaughlin who deserves the most credit for the team's win statistically - in addition to his double-double, McLaughlin was by far the team's most efficient scorer (5-for-7 shooting from the field) and ball handler (he had an assist ratio of 28.81 percent compared to a turnover ratio of 14.40%). Most impressively, he used all of his 6-foot-6 frame to pull down a dominant 34.62 percent of the defensive rebounds available to him.
However, most impressive for the team was that they finally outshot some one and it ultimately helped them win the game.
The biggest reason for the improved shooting resembles that from their win against Oregon State: they kept down the 3-point attempts (shooting 5-for-12) and attacked the basket to get to the free throw line at a high rate.
The nascent pattern for Seatte University in these two wins is that they're at their best when they keep their 3-point attempts low, attack the rim to keep their free throw rate high, and get some production from either McLaughlin or fellow freshman Sterling Carter in addition to their upperclassmen.
Of course, that's easier said than done against the toughest competition, but it does matter that they are learning what they need to do to win.